In these days of “canned this”, “frozen that” and “pre-cooked” options like crazy, simple things like spaghetti sauce are often looked at as a grocery item that one would never make at home. Why take all that time to make it when you can just open up a jar, right?
Wrong. Delicious spaghetti sauce can be deceptively fast and easy to make. Sure you can go the classic route of using numerous ingredients and hours and hours of simmering… but if you’re not one to take that kind of time or maybe you just don’t have the time for whatever reason, homemade spaghetti sauce can be made in a pinch with a bare minimum of just two ingredients. The best part about this homemade spaghetti sauce? It is uber cheap!
The only two things you will need?
1 can tomato paste
That’s it. I know that might sound ridiculously too simple but trust me. If you’re on a tight budget and pinching pennies, spaghetti and other pastas with spaghetti sauce tend to become a staple because of how affordable it is to stock up on pastas and spaghetti sauce. But you really can stretch your hard earned dollars even further by making your own quick homemade spaghetti sauce this way.
All you have to do is scoop the tomato paste into a sauce pan, and then add water to the desired consistency. (It thickens as it simmers and the tomato paste breaks down, so keep that in mind. It’s best to er on the side of it being a bit too thick and you can thin it with water if necessary.) I use the tomato paste can to “measure” the water I add to the paste. One can of water yields a nice, thick sauce which would also be suitable for pizza sauce. One and a half cans of water will yield a thinner consistency about that of most store-bought sauces. I use two cans of water for when I’m making a “Hamburger Helper” type meal in which I boil the pasta till it is about half cooked, drain it then add it to the sauce to finish cooking. (The pasta then absorbs the extra moisture from the sauce as it finishes cooking, and it also absorbs the flavors of the sauce.)
Add a little salt and pepper, heat it up and voila – the utmost basic spaghetti sauce you can make in a matter of minutes. If you have some spices on hand you can add them to make a more flavorful sauce – some Italian Seasoning will do the trick just right if you don’t have many spices available. I like to add a little minced garlic and onion to mine when I have it available. Whatever you choose to add to your sauce remember to add small amounts at a time and taste-test as you go so you don’t get too much of anything in it!
I opt for store brands of tomato paste if they are cheaper. Really, with an ingredient like tomato paste it’s so basic that even cheap brands are often just fine.How much sauce you can get out of each can of tomato paste depends on the consistency you like your sauce and how much water you add. If you like thicker sauce obviously you’ll get a little less than if you preferred a thinner sauce.It also depends on how much sauce you like to put on your pasta.
Another little trick – should you happen to thin out the tomato paste too much, just grab another can and add some more to thicken it back up.
With store-bought jars of spaghetti sauce ranging in price from $2 to $12 a jar (depending on the brand and where you shop; I’ve seen even more expensive jars of spaghetti sauce in some stores!) with this homemade version one can of tomato paste costs roughly 40 cents (again, depending on brand/store/size of the can) and each can will be sufficient for about 4-5 servings of pasta depending on how thick you like the sauce and how much sauce you like on your pasta. Might seem like a silly way to make spaghetti sauce at first but when you think about the savings that will add up to… it’s not so silly anymore is it? =)